Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Judge refuses to throw out evidence in Graziano murder-for-hire case

LARGO — An attempt to throw out evidence in the murder-for-hire case against Edward Graziano has failed.

Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judge Timothy Peters ruled Friday that the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office did not break any rules by going outside Pinellas to investigate some aspects of the case in Hillsborough County. And Peters threw aside a claim that a private investigator broke the rules of his profession by giving police information about Graziano, who was a client of his.

Although private investigators are not supposed to share information they gather for a specific client, it's also obvious that people "cannot lawfully participate in a murder for hire scheme," Peters wrote.

Graziano, 55, is accused of trying to hire a hit man to kill his wife, Debra, for $1,100 in cash, a personal check for $1,000 and a gift card to Westshore Pizza for $13.06.

He is the father of John Graziano, who was severely injured in a car driven by Nick Bollea in August 2007 during a crash during a street race in downtown Clearwater. Bollea's father, Terry, is the professional wrestler known as Hulk Hogan.

Peters found that private investigator Jeff Wilson went to authorities because he "was not willing to stand silent at the risk that Mr. Graziano would follow through on his apparently credible threat to find someone to kill his wife or to murder her himself and then commit suicide."

Defense attorney John Trevena had argued that undercover deputies kept returning to Graziano even though he was expressing doubts about whether he wanted to go through with it.

"The problem with this argument is the evidence establishes the only concern of Mr. Graziano was getting caught," Peters wrote.

Trevena said "we are disappointed with the court's ruling and we will take the matter up to the 2nd District Court of Appeal at the appropriate time."

But Assistant State Attorney Scott Rosenwasser said the ruling shows the Sheriff's Office acted properly, and that the private investigator "not only acted lawfully but took the necessary steps to prevent the death of Debra Graziano."

Curtis Krueger can be reached at (727) 893-8232 or

Judge refuses to throw out evidence in Graziano murder-for-hire case 01/07/11 [Last modified: Friday, January 7, 2011 10:47pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Bucs journal: Kicker Nick Folk has up and downs against Jaguars


    JACKSONVILLE — If the Bucs had hoped for a drama-free night in their kicking game, they'll have to wait another week.

    Bucs kicker Nick Folk celebrates one of his two made field goals against the Jaguars, but he also misses a field goal and has an extra point blocked.
  2. Late night update: Second wave follows Tropical Storm Harvey


    UPDATE: At 11 p.m. the National Hurricane Center said a hurricane hunter plane had determined that Tropical Storm Harvey had formed with sustained winds of 40 mph.

    Three tropical waves are expected to strengthen as they move across the Atlantic Ocean. [Courtesy of the National Hurricane Center]
  3. Stealth anti-Jack Latvala group tied to Adam Putnam campaign


    Politico reports:

     A longtime political consultant for Republican gubernatorial candidate Adam Putnam is behind a website calling one of his rivals in the race, state Sen. Jack Latvala, a “liberal.”

  4. Council gives in to pension dispute with St. Pete firefighters

    Local Government

    ST. PETERSBURG — The City Council was forced to consider its first labor dispute in years Thursday when it gave the firefighters union most of the pension enhancements it has long asked for.

    The firefighters’ union won a pension victory at Thursday’s City Council meeting. [SCOTT KEELER    |      TIMES]
  5. Bucs top Jaguars behind strong first half



    There is a reason why the air in Tampa Bay is filled with playoff talk. If Thursday night's 12-8 Bucs preseason win over the Jaguars is any indication, it's also going to be filled with footballs thrown by quarterback Jameis Winston.

    Doug Martin gets the Bucs’ only touchdown  on a 2-yard run, squeaking past linebacker Telvin Smith in the first quarter. He has five carries for 30 yards.